Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Modern Book Club

Book clubs offer a great opportunity to read widely, challenge ideas and develop your critical thinking. It’s also a great way to increase connection with others that is sometimes lost in our busy lives. You can either start one yourself or join an existing one (be it real or virtual). We’ve explored some celebrity book clubs and have some tips for starting one yourself.

Our Shared Shelf – Emma Watson case you haven’t heard, Emma Watson has started a feminist book club. Called ‘Our Shared Shelf’, it’s open to anyone who wants to join and meetings are conducted through a group on Goodreads. To become a member, you just need to register for an account and join on the group’s page. The actress explained the reason for starting the book club: “As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on,” she wrote. “There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering!” The first book that the group is exploring is Gloria Steinem’s ‘My Life on the Road’.


The Book Club – Jennifer Byrne Book Club features on ABC TV on the first Sunday of every month. Hosted by Jennifer Byrne and with regular panelists Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger, The Book Club is a monthly forum for literary discussion. One new release and one classic are discussed in each episode. Now in it’s 9th season, ‘The Book Club’ is a great vehicle for gathering together book lovers from all around Australia on a monthly basis. Books are selected ahead of time so that there is adequate time to read them before the monthly show is broadcast. Often full of passionate debate and discussion, The Book Club has a large following. The Book Club hasn’t yet started back after summer holidays, so here’s their 5 top reads for 2015:

  1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  3. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
  4. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
  5. Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover


Facebook’s A Year of Books 2015, Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s Resolution was to read a significant book every 2 weeks. This kicked of ‘A Year of Books’ on Facebook. Books were selected based on their ability to “emphasise learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies”. Fans of the page were encouraged to post their thoughts on the titles the Facebook page created for the club. While the group has finished, you can still access the titles and comments on the Facebook page.  The last book featured for 2015 was ‘The Beginning of Infinity‘ by David Deutsch.

Starting your own book club:

There are some great online management tools for book clubs, so regardless of whether you want to meet face to face or online, sites such as: can be used to manage your book selections, invite members, create discussions or help you meet other book lovers who live near you. The beauty of this site is that you can join a bookclub whose members live all over the world. It also has a search function so you can search for existing book clubs that might suit you.

Booko’s book club:

Sharing our love of books is at the heart of Booko. As such, Booko’s very first book club will begin this month. We’re really excited to be able to connect with book lovers in this way. We’ll let you know how to join and keep you informed of our progress.


Your Ultimate Preparation Guide for Enjoying the Oscars

It’s Oscars season again and a whopping five of this year’s nominees started out as best-selling novels. To be fair, the adapted screenplay category often serves as a reflection of some of the best movies of the year with historical tomes or novels serving as the creative starting points for award-winning filmmakers.

This year is certainly no different. While you could prepare for the Oscars by reading The Martian, Room, Carol (The Price of Salt), Brooklyn and The Revenant you could also take a slightly different trip down the red carpet…perhaps delve into the world of a movie critic, peek a glimpse at the history of film or even attempt to understand the mind of the director.

Here are our suggestions for the ultimate Oscars preparation.

Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert has been writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times for nearly forty years. During those four decades, his wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor have made him America’s most celebrated film critic. This book covers many of his reviews, essays and interviews. While it is a celebration of film, it is also a celebration of how we have talked and written about film across the past four decades.

My First Movie, Take Two by Stephen Lowenstein

In these strikingly candid interviews, ten internationally acclaimed directors: Richard Linklater, Richard Kelly, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Takeshi Kitano, Shekhar Kapur, Émir Kusturica, Agnès Jaoui, Lukas Moodysson, Terry Gilliam, and Sam Mendes talk about the struggles and rewards of making their first film.

Each chapter is devoted to a particular director and his or her debut (Slacker, Donnie Darko, Amores Perros, Jabberwocky, and American Beauty among them) and reveals telling details about the inside story of the film-making process: from writing the script to raising the money, from casting actors to gathering the crew, from shooting to editing, and, finally, screening the film.

The Movie Book by Dorling Kindersley

This is another take on the history of film that showcases the impact of individual titles. Beautifully designed and packed with detailed information while staying a fun and straightforward read. A great place to look for movie classics to add to your ‘must-watch’ list.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey, by Mark Cousins

This is an unprecedented cinematic event, an epic journey through the history of world cinema that is a treat for movie lovers around the globe. Guided by film historian Mark Cousins, this bold 15-part love letter to the movies begins with the invention of motion pictures at the end of the 19th century and concludes with the multi-billion dollar globalised digital industry of the 21st.


Enjoy your reading and viewing.

So you want to be a better you…our top reads for self discovery

Self Help books tend to be the ‘embarrassing Uncle’ of the bookshelf. Everyone has them but tends to try and keep them out of the public domain. I have a few books about how to become a property mogul. I tend to push them to the back of the bookshelf and pop an SBS World Guide or book on Japanese art in front.

Self Help books are a reflection of us wanting to re-shape our lives and be a better version of ourselves. Here are our top 5 books on self discovery:

Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh is clear that standard diet and exercise methods are not working to resolve our modern struggles with weight and food. In Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, world-renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and Harvard nutritionist Lilian Cheung PhD share with you a new sustainable means of healthy eating and weight loss: mindfulness. Mindfulness is an approach to living that helps us be in the here and now – and to end our battle with weight once and for all. Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels

Overscheduled. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Sound familiar? Too familiar? You are living at a velocity you know deep down is unsustainable. Your life is off course – too crammed with busyness, too out of focus. You keep waiting for things to get better, but they never do. In Simplify, bestselling author Bill Hybels identifies core issues that drive this kind of living and offers action steps to help you live a better way. By eradicating clutter from your inner world, you can experience immediate rewards: greater energy, clearer purpose, richer relationships and more. Your life won’t simplify itself. You must act. Isn’t it time? by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in life and in the markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Everyone wants to succeed in life. But what causes some of us to be more successful than others? Is it really down to skill and strategy – or something altogether more unpredictable? This book is the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about business and the world. It is all about luck: more precisely, how we perceive luck in our personal and professional experiences. and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This all-time classic has sold more copies around the world and been responsible for the creation of more millionaires, than any other book in history. It’s the result of 25 years of extensive research into the secret of 504 of the world’s wealthiest people. Make no mistake; there is a secret to great wealth! The secret is so simple anyone can use it to become fabulously wealthy and successful in their chosen field. Are you ready to receive it?’s Search for Meaning by Victor. E. Frankl

A prominent Viennese psychiatrist recounts his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp that led to the development of his existentialist approach to psychotherapy.  This involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about and focusing on the outcome of that thinking.


Brain Food for Any Age

One of the delights of reading is that it offers us to access to so much knowledge – including the work of great thinkers and scholars both past and present.  Developing a love of learning can help us become more interesting people, insure us against the unexpected (such as the need to change jobs) and help keep our mental acuity for longer. Here are some “brain food” on a range of topics that are interesting and readable for different ages:

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

Thing Explainer was a hit during the last Christmas gift-giving season, and it’s easy to understand why. It has an appealing premise (explaining complex scientific knowledge using only the 1000 most frequently-used English words), beautiful production values (a large-format hardback with intricate line drawings, in blue-and-white reminiscent of blueprints), educational cred (Randall Munroe is a former NASA robotics scientist) as well as a sense of humour (he has a cult following as the author of xkcd, a geeky webcomic; and the illustrations contain stick figures!).  I love Thing Explainer because it is truly Brain Food for All Ages – while the simple vocabulary makes these concepts more accessible, it also creates constraints; the result is a sort of cryptic puzzle that is challenging and hilarious (a famous example is calling the Saturn V Rocket “Up Goer Five”).

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt

The Food Lab is the latest in a long line of books exploring the science of cooking, a topic of current interest through the work of chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adrià.  What makes it different (and visually stunning) is that it is both a science text AND a recipe book.   Basically, The Food Lab uses the scientific method to work out the best way to cook a dish, then explain why it works.  It is a skilful combination of explanations, instruction, reference and classic homestyle recipes.  By showing the science behind cooking processes, The Food Lab will help you become a better and more confident cook – able to experiment beyond following a recipe to the letter.

The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton is a philosopher and writer who has made his name highlighting the relevance of philosophy to modern life.  In The Consolations of Philosophy, he reinterprets the thinking of six great philosophers, to show how they can offer valuable advice about life problems.  The resultant essays include Socrates for unpopularity; Epicurus for not having enough money; and Schopenhauer for having a broken heart.  Consolations of Philosophy is part Philosophy 101, part self-help book; it is witty and readable and plays a valuable part in debunking the “worthy but intimidating” image of philosophy.

The Annotated Alice by Lewis Carroll and Martin Gardner

There’s more to this childhood favourite than meets the eye.  The Annotated Alice contains the texts of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, with the classic illustrations by John Tenniel, and extensively annotated by Martin Gardner, a mathematician who was widely admired for his Mathematical Games column in Scientific American magazine.  The annotations reveal a wealth of hidden meaning, from wordplay, to mathematical puzzles, literary parodies and cultural references. These rich details show that the Alice books are more than just nonsensical fantasy – enough to make you fall in love with them all over again.

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith is an acclaimed creative duo whose frenetic energy, wild imagination and dark humour makes maths fun and exciting in The Math Curse.  An unsuspecting student becomes the victim of the Math Curse when his teacher says “you can think of almost everything as a math problem” – suddenly, his daily routine becomes a series of time problems, fractions, statistics and money sums.  He feels exhausted, but manages to break his curse when he realises that a problem is no longer a problem when it has an answer.  Lucky for us, the book includes all answers to the problems described.  Fast-paced maths fun for ages 6-10.

Quantum Physics for Babies by Chris Ferrie

Quantum Physics for Babies made headlines recently when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla were photographed reading it to their baby daughter.  The book may seem gimmicky – Chris Ferrie, the author, assumes that it is often purchased as a novelty gift – but the content is based on Chris Ferrie’s expertise as a trained quantum physicist, and written in language aimed at young children.  He has since written other physics-based picture books on Newtonian physics, optical physics and quantum entanglement.  A great way for children (and parents!) to learn some important concepts and familiarise with technical language.

Little Master Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet: a Counting Primer
 and Little Miss Austen Sense and Sensibility: an Opposites Primer by Jennifer Adams



It’s never too early to get to know great literature – and the BabyLit collection aims to do just that.  BabyLit is a series of cute and stylish board books based on literary classics.  Fancy a counting book based on Romeo and Juliet ?  Or a book of Opposites based on Sense and Sensibility ? The range of titles is growing, and includes Treasure Island (shapes), Les Miserables (French vocabulary) and Wuthering Heights (weather).  The text includes themes as well as immortal lines from each work.

Time to set alerts for your text books – we show you how

I was chatting to a friend who is returning to study this year. As I always do, I suggested she buy her textbooks via Booko. ‘Oh, no, she said – I’ll probably get them second hand.’

Avid Booko followers probably know this already, but Booko searches for your book of choice from around 60 online bookstores, which includes 11 bookstores that sell both new and used copies. Brilliant. Some of our most popular booksellers are campus bookstores. We feature books from Textbooks Oz, The Campus Bookstore and TheNile, amongst others.

As money is always tight for students, getting the right book at a bargain price means more money to spend at the Uni Bar (the mature age equivalent is probably the mortgage). To set yourself up for success price-wise, spend 5 minutes on Booko and pop in some alerts for your textbooks. When you want to be alerted as to when a book is under a certain price, you will be sent an email alert.  Instructions for how to do this can be found here.

Here’s a selection of some of the most popular textbooks featuring on Booko at the moment:

For the aspiring doctor:
Examination Medicine by Nicholas J. Talley“Preparation is the key to success” Now in its seventh edition, Examination Medicine: a guide to physician training, has prepared generations of Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP) candidates and medical students for their written and clinical examinations. Instructive, informative and aligned with current practice, this new edition provides an overview of what to expect and what is expected of you.



For the Sports Physiotherapist:
Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine by Peter Brukner

The bible of Sports Medicine – now enhanced by a new companion website.  Burkina and Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine 4th Edition is the complete practical guide to musculoskeletal medicine and physical therapy, covering all aspects of diagnosis and management of sports-related injuries and physical activity.  Extensively revised and expanded by the world’s leading sports physicians, this fourth edition continues to set the standard as the pinnacle of current knowledge and practice in sports medicine.


For the Early Childhood Teacher:
Programming and Planning in Early Childhood Settings with Student Resource Access 12 months by Beecher, Death & Arthur & Planning in Early Childhood Settings explores a range of approaches to curriculum and to documenting children’s learning in early childhood settings. This valuable resource for early childhood education students and practitioners provides a broad view of the concepts and issues in early childhood curriculum.




For the Scientist:


Organic Chemistry by David Klein chemistry is not merely a compilation of principles, but rather, it is a disciplined method of thought and analysis. Success in organic chemistry requires mastery in two core aspects: fundamental concepts and the skills needed to apply those concepts and solve problems.  Readers must learn to become proficient at approaching new situations methodically, based on a repertoire of skills.


For the teacher:
Grammar Matters by Margaret Zeegers

Grammar Matters is a simple, accessible and engaging book about the rules of grammar. It is designed to introduce the basic foundations of grammar to teacher education students in order to build knowledge and confidence, and equip them with a range of skills and strategies to help them to teach grammar in the classroom.




Valentine’s Day for Book Lovers

How do I love thee, tales of romance?  Let me count the ways – I love your strong, smart, vibrant heroines; I love your handsome, witty, sensitive men; I love your exotic locales and eras, and I love the grand passions, just as much as I love the quiet tendernesses.  And I love knowing that I am not alone in my devotion.  In honour of Valentine’s Day, here are some wonderful stories that have made us swoon over and over:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The appeal of Pride and Prejudice  is phenomenal: 203 years after first publication, it remains one of the best-loved novels in English literature.  The story of how proud Mr Darcy and judgmental Lizzie Bennet overcome their mutual dislike to recognise each other’s worth is tender and heartwarming; add a cast of brilliantly drawn secondary characters and the story is enriched by sharp satire about money, status and sexual politics.  Many adaptations and updates of Pride and Prejudice are celebrated in their own right, including the TV mini-series starring Colin Firth (still considered by many to be the definitive Mr Darcy).

If you love Pride and Prejudice, try Frederica by Georgette Heyer

If you love the Regency era of Jane Austen and her creations, stay a while longer through Georgette Heyer’s novels.   Georgette Heyer singlehandedly created the Regency Romance genre; she evoked Georgian England vividly, through her staggering knowledge of period minutiae.  Her 50-plus novels are witty, dramatic and fast-paced and feature a wide variety of winsome lords and ladies.  A personal favourite is Frederica, a subtle and mature romance where a world-weary hero loses his cynicism and finds love when he meets the irrepressible Merrivale family.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Out on the wily, windy moors, a boy and a girl fall into deep, all-consuming love… Heathcliff’s tortuous, obsessive relationship with Cathy in Wuthering Heights is heightened by its unrequited nature and the story’s bleak moorland setting.  The tempestuous emotions – passion, vindictiveness, grief – resonate with many (especially during their hormonal teenage years).  You may not think Cathy and Heathcliff are nice or pleasant characters, but you will not forget them.

978140886567520160229If you love Wuthering Heights,
try Carol by Patricia Highsmith

Written and set in the conservative 1950s, a sense of doom hangs over the growing attraction, and ultimately love, between beautiful, sophisticated Carol and young, lonely Therese.  Even when they acknowledge their feelings for each other, unease lingers about whether this forbidden romance can last.  In fact, Carol’s tentatively optimistic ending represents a shocking twist at a time when lesbian stories usually end in mental breakdown and/or suicide.  A tense and absorbing story, now an acclaimed film starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind is a historical novel with a thoroughly modern sensibility – Scarlett O’Hara is determined, assertive, tough, but also selfish and wilful; Rhett Butler is an anti-hero with dubious morals.  Their passionate but difficult relationship has influenced our collective understanding of a grand romance, assisted by its backdrop of incredible wealth and its subsequent destruction during the Civil War.  A true epic both in length (1000+ pages) and scope.  Pair this book with the sumptuous visuals of its celebrated movie adaptation.

If you love Gone with the Wind, try Katherine by Anya Seton

Although Katherine Swynford plays an important part in British history – she is an ancestress of Plantagenet, Tudor and Stuart royals – she was relatively unknown until the publication of this mesmerising love story.  Katherine, daughter of a minor knight, catches the eye of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; an emotional connection eventually blossoms into love.  This love is tested during a tumultuous time of war, plague and revolt; ultimately it triumphs when, in a scandalous move, John of Gaunt marries Katherine as his third (and final) wife – over 20 years after she becomes his mistress.  Anya Seton’s story is so iconic that Alison Weir’s biography of Katherine Swynford contains a chapter analysing Anya Seton’s version of the story.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Stories of first love are often tender and heart-rending – none more so than John Green’s The Fault in our Stars.  Gus and Hazel are teens who meet in a cancer patients’ support group.  They are funny and philosophical, and refuse to be defined by their illnesses.  They bond over books and witty repartee; they become each other’s strength. Inevitably though, tragedy strikes.  John Green has created some incredibly appealing characters, and a skilful balance of comedy and tragedy, in this offbeat romance. Relive the laughter and tears in both book and movie form.

If you love The Fault in our Stars, try I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle’s memorable first line, “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink”, hints at the quirky delights within.  Styled as the journal of seventeen-year old Cassandra, the story follows her eccentric family, living in genteel poverty in a crumbling castle.  There’s her father, crippled by writer’s block; her stepmother, bohemian but surprisingly practical; and Rose, her beautiful older sister, desperate to escape their poverty by marrying well.   When two young, wealthy brothers come to claim ownership of the crumbling castle, romance and confusion ensues.  Cassandra’s coming-of-age is dreamily and sensitively portrayed, and her unrequited love is agonisingly poignant!  I Capture the Castle is an underrated classic championed by authors including Joanna Trollope and J.K. Rowling.

Celebrating the story of Chinese New Year

Understanding all cultures and their values has become essential to our next generation. For two joyous weeks red is all around as we see the colourful celebration of the Chinese New Year. The colour represents luck and happiness. Children receive money wrapped in red paper, while friends and loved ones exchange poems written on red paper. The Chinese New Year is also an opportunity to remember ancestors, and to wish peace and happiness to friends and family. The holiday ends with the Festival of Lanterns, as many large communities stage the famous Dragon Dance. Fireworks, parades, lanterns, presents, and feasts: these are some of the joys experienced by all who observe Chinese New Year.

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns
by Carolyn Otto.

Celebrate Chinese New Year is the latest, timely addition to National Geographic’s popular Holidays Around the World series. With 25 colourful images and a simple, educational text, the book is a lively invitation to revel in this child-friendly, national and international holiday. Carolyn Otto brings the historical and cultural aspects of the Chinese New Year into focus, and young readers experience the full flavour of an event celebrated by over a billion people in China, and countless others worldwide.


Dragon Dance: a Chinese New Year byJoan Holub 

Introduce the customs of Chinese New Year to even the youngest readers with this festive new lift-the-flap book. Shopping at the outdoor market for fresh flowers, eating New Year’s dinner with the whole family, receiving red envelopes from Grandma and Grandpa, and best of all-watching the spectacular Chinese New Year’s parade! A pure delight.




Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Imperial China by Joanna Cole

Young readers fare taken on a journey rom present day Chinese New Year celebrations to the rice fields and palaces of Imperial China. In this instalment Ms.Frizzle explores China, explains the concept of taxes and covers many of the inventions that came from the country.







Chinese Zodiac Animals by Sanmu Tang

Children will love to learn all about their Chinese zodiac animal with this great multicultural book.

Which Chinese zodiac animal are you? A clever rat? A brave tiger? A hardworking ox? Or an energetic dragon?

Chinese Zodiac Animals explains the traits of each animal sign and what luck the future might hold for the person born under that sign. Chinese Zodiac Animals is a fun and informative way to learn about an important part of Chinese traditional culture.


Celebrating Chinese New Year: An Activity Book by Hingman Chan

Celebrating Chinese New Year is a fun-filled craft, activity and resource book for the Chinese New Year. In addition to basic facts and history of the Chinese New Year, you can make a dragon parade, a paper lantern, and red lucky envelopes following simple directions and examples in this activity book. You will also have fun learning about your Chinese Zodiac signs. This book is an excellent resource for parents and teachers with children ages 5 to 10. A must for celebrating Chinese New Year.



Gong xi fa cai! (Or Kung hei fat choy! if you’re speaking Cantonese.) Welcome to the year of the fire monkey.

Eating from your garden

We made a conscious effort last summer to grow our own veggies but, like many gardeners, by the end of the summer we found ourselves drowning in lettuce early on, then had tomatoes and kale coming out our ears for the remainder of the summer, yet spent the following winter popping to the markets and food stores to buy produce, frozen veggies, and canned goods.

Planning a garden to feed your family can seem overwhelming, so we reviewed a few books to help you out. With careful planning, you can use your garden energy to reduce your grocery bill and eat more fresh delicious vegetables.

Homegrown: Illustrated Bites from Your Garden to Your Table by Heather Hardison

Homegrown is the ultimate guide to growing your own food and eating it, too! With clear and uncomplicated illustrations, author Heather Hardison guides readers through the process of planting, growing, harvesting, and preparing more than 25 of the tastiest, easy-to-grow vegetables and small fruits—such as spinach, kale, artichokes, and pears—and cooking them into seasonal, clean, and delicious offerings—including Fava Bean Crostini, Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho, and Parsnip Hummus.


Little Veggie Patch Co: How to grow food in small spaces by Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember

Growing up in an Italian family, for Fabian Capomollo, Sunday lunch would always consist of loud arguments, pasta and veggies from the garden. Starting off in advertising before taking the leap to fulfil his dream of helping people grow food, Fabian now has his own completely edible backyard in Melbourne, with his wife and kids. All Mat Pember’s childhood memories revolve around his Nonna and Nonno’s backyard near Fremantle, WA. The veggie garden, the enormous garage, where the pork and fennel sausage would hang drying from the ceiling beams, and checking the chook shed for eggs. Mat worked in landscaping before moving exclusively into edible gardening.

Fab and Mat install edible gardens: in boxes on balconies, in crates you can put anywhere in your backyard, or by creating no-dig garden beds. After years of helping clients grow fruit and vegetables they believe anyone can create their own little edible garden, in most any area in Australia. In this easy-to-use guide they show you how simple it is!

1- Minute Gardner by Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember

As the brains behind The Little Veggie Patch Co., Fab and Mat have taken the mystery out of – and put the fun back into – growing fruit and vegetables. 1-Minute Gardener features 70 fast, illustrated step-by-step guides to edible gardening essentials, from preparing and caring for your patch through to harvesting the rewards (and getting the kids involved along the way).




Don’t forget, plant what you enjoy eating. We know this seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re selecting seed packets and see the delicious and specialised  variety of veggies, it’s very easy to get carried away!

How sustainable living taps into ancient wisdom

Sustainable living is defined as a lifestyle that reduces the impact on the Earth’s resources. However look a little closer and you’ll see the term, along with others such as self sufficiency, homesteading and organic food, are just new tags for traditional, common sense methods of living – the way our grandparents lived and largely fed themselves.

One increasingly popular part of sustainable living — growing organic food — is well documented by the following authors using this wisdom. They show how growing pesticide-free fruit and vegetables is not only possible but easy in small homes and apartments using the knowledge handed down by previous generations.

Indira Naidoo









Author, food activist and television personality Indira Naidoo has demonstrated this in her book The Edible Balcony and the recently released follow up The Edible City.

Both books examine how urban spaces can be transformed into productive, sustainable areas for the growing of organic vegetables. The author takes us into her world, first on her Sydney unit balcony, then to the city itself, to show how real sustainability and organic living can be achieved on a small scale and change lives for the better.


Linda Woodrow organic living is very much the focus of Linda Woodrow’s The Permaculture Home Garden. The author combines traditional common sense with the science of permaculture to show how people can transform their gardens into sustainable food gardens.

Packed with advice, encouragement, diagrams and inspiration, The Permaculture Home Garden shows how easy it is to reduce your carbon footprint while producing stunning organic fruit and vegetables for the kitchen table.

Individual know how, organic living and sustainability are the key themes running through these books. Though they vary in style and scope, all three show the importance of collective knowledge and wisdom in sustainable living.

The power of environmentally conscious people thinking of the future of the planet by taking inspiration from the past.